An end to Yahapalana curse is direly needed
Posted on June 11th, 2015
By Ajit Randeniya
Five months of corruption-ridden maladministration under the Yahapalanaya deception has been nothing short of a national disaster. The country is floating without effective national leadership and there are no resources to meet regular government financial commitments. Work in key development projects started by the previous government has been stalled on account of unsubstantiated charges of corruption, making thousands of workers jobless. The stock market is hitting new lows every passing week, and the price of imported goods will soon rise due to the fast depreciating rupee. The list of disasters destroying the country’s economy and national morale is growing by the day.
President Sirisena has demonstrated over the short span of five months that his ambition for higher office is not matched by executive management ability needed at the highest level. A hapless Sirisena and his equally incompetent unelected prime minister are responding with cynical political manoeuvres aimed at stemming the rebellion within the SLFP, but with no plans of economic reconstruction.
The political and economic morass the country is in demonstrates several key facts: firstly, the situation is making clear that the government misses the vital ingredient of democracy, popular backing or indeed a mandate. This is despite managing to win an election through the crunching of minority numbers; secondly, the gloss of Sirisena’s “virtues” – exaggerated by sycophants to the level of making him a Bodhisatva – have begun to dissipate under the weight of his hateful, immoral, illegal campaign of revenge against political opponents.
President Sirisena’s meeting Ranil Wickremesinghe and representatives of 49 NGOs including Rev Maduluwave Sobhitha that supported him at the presidential election gave clear indications that he seems to have finally realised that his support base lies not within the SLFP he nominally leads, but with fringe players whose level of noise is rarely matched by the numerical strength of the groups they claim to represent – as exemplified by the National Movement for a Just Society.
The last five months have showed that President Sirisena and the minority government he appointed does not possess a genuine desire – or the ability – to implement a national agenda with a vision for a sovereign, independent Sri Lanka in the 21st century. They seem to be preoccupied with “paying back” the groups that helped them steal power, and do the same in a negative way, to the forces that kept them out of power for decades with popular backing. Sources of the revenge mentality that has led the country to a desperate political and economic morass are found in the characters of Sirisena and Wickremesinghe and the origin of the Yahapalanaya fraud.
It has now been established without doubt that the Yahapalanaya “product” was developed and deployed under the aegis of the British, American, Canadian and Norwegian embassies, by the cabal of rejected political hacks of the calibre of Chandrika Bandaranayake, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Rajitha Senaratne and of course their trump card, Maithripala Sirisena. The election “victory” – marginal at best – was gained thanks only to the rent-seeking minority groups and election-list related corruption in the North and the East by NGOs, with the acquiescence of key election officials.
The narrow election win however, could not disguise the longer term untenability of the power grab that occurred on January 8. The lack of a true popular base to sustain it, within or outside the parliament, made sure it was still-born.
President Sirisena’s obvious attempts to repay his debt to the groups that enabled him to realise his ambition at the expense of the SLFP – that has clearly justifiable claims to power than the ever-loosing, undemocratic UNP – has been the root cause of the political instability that has plagued the country. Sirisena’s attempts to undermine the SLFP in order to assist Ranil Wickremesinghe, clearly under the tutelage of Chandrika Bandaranayake, a woman driven only by relentless hatred of the former president Mahinda Rajapakse, shows poor political judgement that ensured the collapse of the Yahapalana fraud in the coming days.
The other major drive within the government has involved the recompense of the overseas sponsors of the conspiracy, spearheaded by the fashion-designer turned foreign policy impresario Mangala Samaraweera and his deputy “Ajith P” Perera. They appear to be on a shameless mission to align the Sri Lankan foreign policy with the neocon-driven, criminal, American foreign policies.
The nationally embarrassing levels of subservience of the two leaders to the British, American and other European leaders and governments point to a disturbingly unwitting parody of Rudyard Kipling’s portrayals of the colonised peoples as people incapable of surviving without the help of Europeans.
The account President Sirisena gave to the heads of media institutions, and to SLFP MPs, of his meetings with Queen Elizabeth and the British Prime Minister David Cameron revealed deeply-held colonial feelings of inferiority; His enthrallment with the opportunity to shake hands with a glove-less Elizabeth, and his astonishment over David Cameron opening his car door in front of 10 Downing Street (as per protocol) would have made Sri Lankans with any level of national pride cringe.
Right thinking Sri Lankans are entitled to the view that such deeply-held feelings of subservience shows profound ignorance of our national history, giving rise to fears that he will propel the country to accept the doctrines of the colonizer as intrinsically superior.
The foreign minister of the minority government has tried to justify his own crawling to America and the West as a foreign policy designed to “ regain” Sri Lanka’s position as a responsible and respected member of the international community, through engagement with the international community, to address issues of concern not only for Sri Lanka but for the global community as a whole; The language he used in pouring out such drivel was indistinguishable from the neocon press releases emanating from the US State Department.
Samaraweera’s orders to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct regular briefings for foreign diplomats and the media to highlight the “achievements” of the Government and to outline future plans further demonstrates his reliance on foreign agents to stay in power; His promises to the international community of neocons that he would institute a domestic mechanism to inquire alleged war crimes by September shows a disturbing lack of national interests or common decency towards the armed forces of Sri Lanka. Samaraweera who seems to enjoy the perk of foreign travel immensely, also travels endlessly to the US and Europe to explain government actions on matters purely of internal governance.
Unbelievably, Ranil Wickremesinghe invited representatives from the most regressive neocolonial structures masquerading as International Media Associations including Article 19, Centre for Law and Democracy in Canada, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) for a briefing, ostensibly on the progress of his implementation of their agenda in Sri Lanka.
The saddest part about such kowtowing to America is the apparent total lack of an appreciation of the current status of geopolitical trends and events, and how best Sri Lanka should be utilising such trends to safeguard its own national interest.
In South and East Asian terms, America is currently struggling to maintain its hegemony in the region, against justifiable future claims by China. The disguised plot to maintain the status quo under a so-called “pivot to Asia” to contain China by fanning territory-related disputes China has with India and Japan have fallen flat with the election of the Narendra Modi government in India. Mr Modi who has long known the American neocon modus operandi has refused an alliance with America, wanting to maintain India’s strategic autonomy and no. And he is good friends with China and believes in a common future for India and China. China is also progressing with military, financial and other relations with Russia, keen to build up their own defences against the neocon provocations and vilifications.
Unperturbed by such emerging unfavourable trends, the US neocons are turning their attention to exploiting the “allies” Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, and Vietnam and Thailand to help maintain a presence in Asia. They are now trying to escalate tensions between these countries and China by attempts to frame the routine territorial disputes in terms of Chinese “intimidation” to assert maritime claims, vowing to support the rights of small states to the legal uses of sea and air space.
By the first week of June, the US Defence Secretary Ash Carter worked overtime to escalate tensions by requesting the Pentagon for options that included sending US military ships and aircraft within 22 kilometres of Chinese territory to “assert freedom of navigation” in South China Sea. The hidden agenda is transparent.
Judging by the level of elation displayed to the visit of struggling US Foreign Secretary John Kerry to Sri Lanka however, – under the cover of Vesak celebrations – the Yahapalana lackeys appear to be oblivious to such trends unfavourable to America in Asia and globally. Cunningly as ever, the neocon agent Kerry stealthily followed his own agenda by meeting with the TNA soon after meeting with the lickspittles Sirisena and Wickremesinghe; He called for an investigation into the cases of “thousands” of missing Tamils and called for economic integration among countries in South and South East Asia. Then he left.
With clear signs that another member of the Bush family, Jeb Bush, is likely to become president in 2016, the Yahapalana cabal, if still in power, may decide to send a growling invitation for him to bless Sri Lanka with a visit. That prospect alone justifies all right thinking Sri Lankans working for an end to this curse ASAP.